Grieving mum steps down from charity role after years of helping Sunderland families

Vicky Smith and her Jacob (and one of the 4 Babybell charity boxes).
Vicky Smith and her Jacob (and one of the 4 Babybell charity boxes).
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A MUM who suffered the trauma of miscarriage says she is devastated to be stepping down from her charity work – but promises her legacy will continue.

Three years ago, Vicky Smith, 28, from Red House, set up 4Babybell after losing her first child 13 weeks into her pregnancy.

Though devastated, she channelled her grief by setting up the charity to provide keepsake boxes in hospitals to be given to other parents affected by the tragedy.

As a result, more than 50 hospitals now stock the handmade boxes, which contain items such as a card, teddy bear, acknowledgement of life certificate, a candle, glass angel, forget-me-not seeds and a balloon.

Though proud of what she’s achieved, Vicky – who has since become mum to Jacob, two – has had to give up her charity work as it proved too much of a juggling act with motherhood and working full time as a school nurse at Keelman’s Way School in Hebburn.

She said: “The loss of a baby, no matter how early on in pregnancy, is devastating, and my family and I were blown away by grief.

“Everyone copes with grief differently, and my way was to focus my energy on something which would help others who walked in my shoes.

“Over the past three years, I have watched many parents suffer the loss of their baby. I remember first becoming a part of the baby loss community online and being overwhelmed by the volume of bereaved parents.

“Loss was a taboo within ‘normal society’ and there was an overwhelming expectation to be ‘over it’ quickly. 4BabyBell has helped to break this silence by encouraging bereaved parents to talk about their babies and have the right to grieve.”

Though Vicky is stepping down, sister charity 4Louis will continue her work.

“I struggled with the idea of closing down 4BabyBell, as it felt like I would be letting my baby down,” said Vicky. “But I know in my heart that I cannot do everything and that Jacob and I deserve to enjoy one another.

“I have feared letting down the baby loss community, which have now become my close friends and extended family. But I would like to reassure them that no hospitals will be left without memory boxes as a result of 4BabyBell closing.

“Our sister charity 4Louis will be taking over the 52 hospitals that we supply. I will still be active within the loss community, attending events and supporting charities, but on a smaller scale.”